A school board in Texas voted to fire a teacher who asked President Donald Trump on Twitter to round up “illegal students from Mexico.”
The Fort Worth school board voted 8-0 on June 4 for the “proposed termination” of Georgia Clark, the Fort Worth Independent School District said. Clark, who was placed on administrative leave last week, has 15 days to file an appeal or else she will be fired.
“Once the tweets came to light, so, too, did other allegations, and it was my professional judgment that it was in the best interest of the district,” said Superintendent Kent P. Scribner after the vote, reported the Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The board had to vote because Clark, a contract employee who teaches English at Carter-Riverside High School, is protected under Texas law from being fired without a vote. If she appeals she would get a due process hearing, where an appointee would meet with her and the board and listen to their arguments about the proposed firing. The appointee, or hearing officer, would make a recommendation and the board would vote again.
“This board has a strong record of supporting students and their quest for success, college, career and community leadership,” Scribner said. “Fort Worth serves 86,000 students, and it is our goal that we treat each one with dignity and respect, and based on the information that we have, we think this is the most responsible recommendation at this time.”
Clarke had faced inquiries before and the school district recommended her termination in 2013, but she was saved by a teacher group that intervened.
The vote came after missives Clarke posted on Twitter became public.
“Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District is loaded with illegal students from Mexico,” Clark wrote on May 17 on Twitter. “Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated,” she wrote in another tweet.
District says Clark admitted to writing “FW ISD is loaded with illegal students from Mexico. Carter-Riverside HS has been taken over by them” & “I really do need a contact here in FW who should be actively investigating & removing illegals that are in the public school system” pic.twitter.com/BO2kQLF3pK
— Erin Jones (@erinjonesnews) June 4, 2019
Clark appeared to reference illegal immigrants in all of her posts, not legal immigrants.
Clark was apparently under the impression that she was sending a private message, known on Twitter as a direct message, to the president. She told Trump she wanted a guarantee that her identity would not be made public.
“Texas will not protect whistleblowers. The Mexicans refuse to honor our flag,” she wrote.
All of her tweets tagged Trump’s Twitter account, known on Twitter as a handle. There was no indication Trump, who has over 60 million followers, had seen the tweets. Before he became president, Trump was known for sharing some of his followers’ missives and commenting on others but since he took office he has rarely done so.
.@FortWorthISD Teacher Georgia Clark told district officials she thought her tweets were private messages to @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/vd5eGuqcAO
— Diane Smith (@dianeasmith1) June 3, 2019
The Fort Worth Independent School District said that Clark admitted to posting the controversial posts from the account, which had no biographical information or picture attached. She told them she thought the posts were only able to be seen by the president.
District policy states that employees’ social media use must adhere to standards of conduct.
“If an employee’s use of electronic media interferes with the employee’s ability to effectively perform his or her job duties, the employee is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment,” district policy states, according to the Star-Telegram.
According to NBC DFW, about 63 percent of the district’s student population is Hispanic.